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Learner Reviews & Feedback for History of Rock, Part One by University of Rochester

1,135 ratings

About the Course

This course, part 1 of a 2-course sequence, examines the history of rock, primarily as it unfolded in the United States, from the days before rock (pre-1955) to the end of the 1960s. This course covers the music of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and many more artists, with an emphasis both on cultural context and on the music itself. We will also explore how developments in the music business and in technology helped shape the ways in which styles developed. Rock emerged in the mid 1950s as a blending of mainstream pop, rhythm and blues, and country and western--styles that previously had remained relatively separate. This new style became the music of the emerging youth culture and was often associated with teen rebellion. We will follow the story of how this rowdy first wave of rock and roll (1955-59) was tamed in the early 60s but came roaring back with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and then went psychedelic by the end of the decade....

Top reviews


Mar 12, 2018

Provided insight into what I was listening to as a pre-teen. I didn't have the exposure to some of the older roots or the an understanding of the business forces that shaped the music I had access to.


Oct 1, 2016

This course has really helped to fill out my piecemeal understanding of the development of rock music. The pace and content of learning has been well considered and Prof Covach is to be congratulated.

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26 - 50 of 330 Reviews for History of Rock, Part One

By Vincent A

Jul 2, 2016

This course is just packed with so much information. I mean that in a good way too. John pieces the whole history of rock in a way the is digestible, engaging and interesting. I primarily watch the videos. I'm a music fan and just love learning more about rock's trajectory. Didn't know that there was so much history to it. And in case this wasn't enough, be sure to check out part 2. Thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the history of rock and music.

By Dimitris E

Sep 7, 2020

Very interesting and detailed course, places everything in order regarding the evolution of rock history and pop/soul music as well as discussing very interesting culture and historical events. The only problem is that the lecturer is not permitted to playback the tracks in discussion but with a little effort everything can be found. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the evolution of rock music (and not only).

By William H B

Nov 24, 2020

I really enjoyed the course and increased my knowledge of R & R. Great job with the lectures and text. This is my 2nd History of R & R class. and it is just as great as my 1st. I should add that I was raised with R & R and love it. I have listend to it regualry since the 50s, visited SF freqently durring the late 60s and early 70s, and play drums in a classic R & R band. Thanks for an educational, fun course.

By Kevin S

Sep 9, 2019

I am of a certain age in which I know and remember much of the material covered in the course. However, Professor Covach does a superb job of weaving the disparate threads of mainstream pop, R & B, and country and western together to form rock. He does a great job of covering the various threads of rock as it begins to split into the various sub-genres that will be covered in part two of the course. Great job.

By Juan D H L

May 10, 2017

Professor Covach makes the journey interesting as we go along the history of rock, showing not only the musical aspects of its evolution but the cultural ones, so we the students can have a broader perspective of what was going on during the different periods studied. His approach to the subject and his eloquent, fluid narrative of events makes it delightful and exciting. Congratulations for this course.


Mar 11, 2016

Awesome instructor with a great deal of knowledge and enthusiasm. He addresses controversial moments in music history with taste. Hearing about the contexts that gave rise to some of the most influential musicians of the mid 20th century made songs more meaningful and interesting. I've discovered many new songs and artists that I absolutely love and I have this course to thank. Thank you!

By Nisha A

Jun 16, 2020

Amazing course!!! Was quite informative. The instructor explains things very well, He seems like one of those instructors who would love to share everything they know if time was not a constraint for them and I think that that's fantastic. Even though I wasn't planning to take the second part initially, I now most certainly will because I am so interested to know what happened later.

By Anthony C D

Feb 8, 2021

A brilliant course which I loved. Thank you. I’m a white 70yo man living in the West of England, UK currently in COVID Lockdown. I was a teenager when the Beatles broke in 1963 and rock music has been a big part of my life ever since. I found Professor Covach very endearing and I learnt a great deal from his knowledge & enthusiastic approach. I’m straight on to Part 2. Can’t wait


May 24, 2020


By James S

Aug 11, 2015

As a 6-8 music teacher teaching music appreciation to 7th and 8th grade students, this class helps fill in some of the gaps music educators face when it comes to the history of popular music - or supplement it. I was fortunate to have such a course available at my university, but only in the summer. I would encourage all secondary music teachers to take both of these courses.

By Νefeli P

Nov 16, 2020

I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot about the evolution of music in general. One can learn how and why the whole rock culture began to formulate. I tried listening to the most albums and songs that Mr Covach suggested and I am very happy with his choices. I also learned a lot of good music too. Thank you Mr Covach! Looking forward to Part 2!

By Adithya P

Jul 25, 2019

This is a very informative and well outlined course highlighting the US music industry's history from the 1900s to end of 1960s. I also really liked the way in which John Covach narrated the whole course - you can really glimpse the fondness which he has for the music of the 60s! Thanks a lot to Coursera and John Covach for such a brilliant course.

By Javier F

Jan 17, 2016

Excellent course, I highly reccomend it! Passionate John Covach makes it very thrilling and you really learn a lot. Do not expect an easy course, in the way that you have to take notes during the lessons - and even better, you have to take the aid of Youtube and/or Spotify or similars to really take advantage of the course. It takes time.

By Anisiya A

Nov 10, 2020

Fantastic course! Loved the teacher, and how all the information is structured. Just great. Going for the part II. The only thing, I wish the Civil Rights movement and other issues of the 60s were mentioned in more details, but maybe it will be mentioned in the part II? We'll see. Anyhow I'm tremendously happy I took this course.

By Elika f

Sep 23, 2022

I had a great time studying the history of rock music part one. It was an honor to be able to attend Professor Covach's immensely thought-provoking classes. I thank all Coursera members for granting me this opportunity. I hope to be able to attend more online courses later on.


Elika Khebreh Farshchi

By Pedro C D L C

Jun 22, 2023

Great Course. Very entertaining to listen to the development of music and the influence in culture in had throughout the 50s and 60s. Although one might argue the other way is also right.

I learned lots of new things and picked up many new artists whose music did not know yet.

Thanks and see you in Part Two!

By Diana C Q F

Jun 17, 2023

AMEEEEE ESTE CURSO. La historia, la música, la manera en que el profesor explicaba. Fue muy gratificante. Ojala pudiera llevar la parte dos del curso. Espero lograrlo. Solo un plus, pónganle en volumen bajito la música que el profe mencione en los clases como fondo, porque le da otra sensación al video ;)


Apr 9, 2024

Great introduction to Rock music history. Sufficiently detailed to make it challenging, yet not too heavy to make it overwhelming. Extremely good coverage in terms of span, given the format limitation. Overall a good starting point for a student of rock, helping one to choose where to deep dive further.

By Lester P

Aug 11, 2015

All of Dr. John Covach's courses are exceedingly clearly presented and History of Rock, Part One is no exception. This course requires no musical skill, just a cusriosity to learn about the development of rock music from an American perspective yet including British developments from 1900 until 1969.

By Dana C

Jun 5, 2017

One of the most comprehensive, and most fun, classes on contemporary music EVER!! I took John's Beatles class and he broke down the music theory as well as the social effects of music on our culture. It was very stimulating and challenging! I enjoyed it so much I registered for Part II!!

By french b

Apr 15, 2017

Thanks a lot for my best experience so far with a MOOC course. I'm taking the course from Germany and got a lot of information on the cultural background, which help me enjoying my music collection even more. A must do course for anyone interested in music and/or 20th century culture.

By kate m

Jul 29, 2019

My first Coursera class and it was so good! The class was interesting and enjoyable. The information was presented in a logical progression that made it easy to understand. The instructor is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the material. making the lectures even better.

By Se S

Dec 16, 2015

Definitely, the widest and the most exciting course I've ever seen. It's so impressive how friendly and thoughtful John is, clearly understandable and accurate in details (especially for me as non-native speaker), which make this course above any ratings. Thank you a lot, John!

By anam

Aug 19, 2015

If you always have been insterested in rock music you must do this course. In Mr.Covach lectures, you can find out in a dinamic fun way artirts that you never have noticed before and also see what´s behind of big hits. So, I encourage you to do both parts of History of Rock!

By Valerie G

Aug 26, 2020

I used this course to do a summer program with my kids based called, The History of Rock. The lectures were so good and easy to understand and the quizzes were no walk in the park, but that made it even more satisfying when I was able to ace the final on the first try!